Rio Tinto lifts Q1 iron ore production

Miner misses expectations but posts 8% lift on previous corresponding period.

Rio Tinto (RIO) has posted first-quarter iron ore production (share of production) of 52.39 million tonnes, slightly below the expectations of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who expected a median forecast of 54.7 million tonnes.

The miner said its share of production was 8% higher than in the same period of 2013 when it posted first-quarter iron ore production (share of production) of 48.25 million tonnes, despite the first quarter being a notoriously tough period for the major miners due to the wet season.

In the first quarter, Rio Tinto's global iron ore production was 66.7 million tonnes, a 16% increase on the previous corresponding period.

Deutsche Bank had predicted global iron ore production for Rio would be flat at 70.5 million tonnes, with sales down 1% due to the impact of cold weather on its Canadian operations.

On the back of the results, Rio Tinto said its full-year production guidance remains unchanged and still expects to produce approximately 295
million tonnes (100% basis) from its global operations in Australia and Canada, subject to weather constraints.

The miner also said the full-ramp up in the Pilbara to the much-touted 290 million tonnes per annum capacity was on track to be delivered by the end of the first half.